Shop owners of Church Street say business has gone down by 10-20 percent since the renovation which was completed last year.
Church Street, which is famous for its book shops, restaurants, and pubs has become more attractive but the businessmen of Church Street are not so satisfied. They say business losses have increased 10 to 20 percent since the renovation of the Church Street.
They claim that the lack of sufficient parking bays has caused the number of visitors to go down. A shop-owner of Church Street, Jogi said, “Since the renovation of Church Street not even 50 customers visit my shop. Earlier, the number of visitors was 100-150.” He added, “Number of customers is now less because the width of the street has become smaller.
A 47-year-old sweet shop is also dealing with the reduction of business. Super-visor of K.C Das, Joseph Prakash said, “The number of customers has reduced since renovation of the street. Earlier, 200-300 people used to come and now 150-200 customers visit our shop because there are not enough parking bays on Church Street and visitors face parking issues. Our business has gone down by 10-20 percent.”
There are only 10 parking bays on Church Street. Due to limited number of parking, people park their vehicles in ‘no parking zones’. Bengaluru Traffic Police Constable, S. R. Gowrisha clarified, “If someone parks a vehicle in ‘no parking zone’ he is liable to a fine of Rs. 1000.”
Zomato delivery boy, Mr. Kishore cited, “I parked my vehicle in a ‘no parking bay’ near Residency road on Thursday to collect a delivery from a tea shop. After half an hour when I came back police was around my vehicle and I had to pay Rs. 1000 to release my two-wheeler vehicle.”
Customers are more hesitant to shop in the area.A student and visitor of Church Street, Tushar criticized, “Lack of enough parking bays I have to park my vehicle in a paid parking zone which costs me Rs. 20 for an hour. I frequently used to visit Church Street but now I come here twice or thrice a month.”
Regular customer of the sweet shop, Amrit Mehta claimed, “I have a vehicle but I don’t bring it to Church Street because there is no availability of parking. The parking facility over here is very poor.”
Bengaluru Bruhat Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) says they did not provide parking on the street because they planned to make it a pedestrian zone. They say that the road had many problems that they addressed during the renovation.
Road Infrastructure Executive Engineer of BBMP, Basudev Kabade said, “Church Street had potholes, no proper parking, no street lights. The sewage used to overflow. So, we thought to renovate it, more focusing on pedestrians’ free movement on footpaths.”
BBMP official, Lokesh said, “The government and the police department have taken a decision not to allow parking. So, that pedestrian can move freely.”
Urban planners say better planning could have helped with the problem of parking in the area. Architect and Urban Planner, Anil Bhaskaran said, “To resolve parking issues I think the option would have been to provide parking at lower level, below the street level, creating a separate basement. So, they should have adequately addressed the issue of the parking space that people are facing on Church Street.”
BBMP says it is not their concern to look into parking issues; it is the responsibility of Bengaluru traffic police.